Many advisors have noted that their female clients have become increasingly concerned about the social impact they can make with their investments. Women are expressing an interest in using their dollars to effect change, particularly for other women. And this type of impact investing, or investing with a socially or environmentally responsible focus, continues to take root as a viable and desirable investment strategy.
Gender lens investing, a subset of impact investing, involves actively investing in businesses that benefit women. This might mean building a portfolio with women-owned firms, selecting companies with a sizeable number of women on the board or in the executive suite or choosing to invest in businesses that promote workplace equity and inclusivity.
Jeff Finkelman, research associate of impact investments at Athena Capital Advisors, has noted a growing interest in gender lens investing by the firm’s female clients and says that such an approach can accomplish a social purpose while providing strong financial returns for retirement.
The old argument
There’s certainly the argument that a gender lens investment strategy might not be as financially advantageous as a more traditional investment approach. But Finkelman says the data don’t necessarily bear it out. Returns and gender lens investing needn’t be mutually exclusive.
“You can certainly make money with gender lens investing,” he says. “Yes, there are fewer companies that you might invest in.” But as with any investment strategy, the onus is on the advisor to do their homework.